Wednesday, December 7, 2011

As We Like It Wednesday....

Greetings and salutations my lovelies on this rainy humpday - can you believe we are half way through the week and 18 days away from Christmas???? Holy cats batman! I can't take it - I have hit that point in my holiday shopping where the organization is completely shot and I have started buying crap willy nilly and just need to sit down and make sure I haven't missed anyone important! Of course tonight I am mentally blocking on the forecast calling for snow - my children have their pajamas on inside out and have already declared tomorrow a snow day....ugh! On the bright side we are only three days away from my favorite day of the year.... Cookiepalooza! Add three friends, enough ingredients for 40 dozen cookies and a day of baking and catching up while the kids entertain themselves....we you're done - voila! A wide variety of holiday treats and all the baking completed in one session! Speaking of treats - I am sharing this special eye candy - an assortment of eye candy, inspired by the assortment variety at Cookiepalooza! What's your favorite holiday tradition????

Speaking of traditions, one of my favorite things - be it book, movie or fashion - is taking something old and making it new again. Make that old favorite treasures from the Bard and you had me at Once Upon a Time....Resplendence Publishing has recently published the As We Like It anthology: a six-book grouping of stories that includes Twelve Nights by Katie Blu, Midsummer's Dreaming by Simone Anderson, The Temptress by Abigail Barnette, Vamplet by Dakota Rebel, Two for the Shrew by Bronwyn Green and Romero and Julian by Brynn Paulin. Each story is the author's updated interpretation of a classic Shakespeareian tale. Three stories released on 11/16/2011, and the remaining three released on 11/23/2011. While the stories share a central theme, they do not need to be read in order (even better!).

Two for the Shrew, by Bronwyn Green
Advertising executives, John Petruchio and Simon Verona have been awarded the account of a lifetime—the vitamin and supplement empire, Minola Essentials. But what they really want is the delectable but shrewish CEO, Catherine Minola.

Catherine is the queen of her company, so when her retired father hires an ad agency without telling her, she's less than thrilled. Even more so when she realizes the two men she’s never quite gotten out of her system are back and they’re not shy about making up for lost time.

She thinks a no-strings fling might be just what she needs, but they have other plans.

Cat spends her life tightly controlled, running the family business with grace and finesse. When her sister Bianca plans her high society wedding, Cat dutifully performs her maid of honor roll. The only fly in the ointment: the two hot ad execs she meets with prior to the blessed event and re-encounters during the reception. Even more distracting, they have a past that spans back to a drunken night in college. Determined to exorcise her demons, Cat agrees to a brief interlude with the two men. That taste of forbidden fruit leads to more as the trio connect like nothing they've ever experienced before. Can this all work and no play shrew mix business and pleasure with two?

Bronwyn Green builds upon the great Bard's storyline of the jaded woman and the man (men) determined to woo her and make her love. The dialogue is fresh, the storyline clever and entertaining, the sex both hot and sweet. Huge kudos go to this talented writer who manages to take my favorite Shakespearean play and craft a sexy modern novella that still retains strains of the original masterpiece. Definitely a keeper - I give this sassy little tale a fab five chocolate dipped strawberries and wish for my own pair of sexy execs to share them with!

Twelve Nights, by Katie Blue
Viola Leinmann is pissed when her twin, Sebastian, books a publicity event for a client twelve days before it is scheduled to occur, then leaves town. What makes it worse is that the new, way-too-mouthwatering-for-his-own-good boss doesn’t like working with women. But making sure her new company stays in the black is worth pretending to be her brother for a night.

Jeff Sarto likes Sebastian’s style. He’s a go-getter who’s self-motivated and makes him laugh. He’s also the key to getting the office hottie to go out with him. And that’s what he wants, until he meets Sebastian’s sexy sister, Viola. A stolen kiss makes him forget every rule about mixing business with pleasure.

But as the convention deadline winds down and his new friend Sebastian turns out to be Viola, can he forgive her for lying to him? Or has Jeff lost both his best friend and the girl to a hurtful prank?

This story was a true bon-bon, the type you scarf down really quickly and then want another right away! What a stellar twist on the great Twelfth Night concept of woman dressing as man to fool man into falling in love with said woman. Confused? Definitely an intimidating process to mirror one of Shakespeare's greatest plays and yet Katie Blu nails it. Viola and Sebastian are twins who run a promotional company - Jeff Sarto, the computer genius who is going to launch their business success. Two little tiny problems: Jeff will only work with men, having been burned in the press for his connections with women, and Sebastian goes AWOL attempting to woo another high-profile potential client.

Viola's cross dressing provides both comic relief as well as a sexy challenge for the feisty, independent woman to not only work with the brilliant computer guru but to get to know him on a really personal level. Whenever they get together, the sparks fly and leave the reader a little breathless in anticipation that somehow, someday, they will finally connect as Viola the sexy and Jeff rather than Sebastian the friend and Jeff.

I am truly in awe of this writer's creation. It was sexy and funny and really well written. The story was so intricate that it felt much longer than the novella length it really was. The characters were well crafted, very multi-dimensional (except for Sebastian who was essentially non-existent for most of the story) and the pain and hurt experienced by the misdirection was palpable. Any novella that can make you laugh, cry and sigh in about a hundred pages has it all going on! I give this super story five chocolate dipped strawberries and a wish for twelve sexy nights with a HEA on top!

Midsummer Night's Dreaming, by Simone Anderson
Hayle St. James’ refusal to continue living a lie when he is confronted by his family about being gay finds him on the back of a motorcycle riding through a forest in the middle of the night. What he finds will either make everything worthwhile or break his heart.

Leife O’Neill has finally found the perfect man. A man who loves him for him. Hayle is everything he could want in a partner. Too many things stand in their way. On the night that Leife wants to declare Hayle is his, reality and responsibility collide with anger and jealousy and more than one heart is on the line.

Stopping in the middle of the forest to make love under a full moon seemed romantic, however, Hayle and Leife quickly learn that they are not alone and not everything is as it seems. One man watches and waits for the opportunity to confront the man he loves, while another is forced to face the consequences of his actions…

Simone Anderson has created an enchanting blend of first love/coming out tale with one of Shakespeare's greatest fantasy plays, Midsummer Night's Dream. I was captivated by the romance of Hayle and Leife from the start, although I was sobbing early on with the rejection of Hayle's family and best friend when he finds the spirit and bravery to admit his sexuality. The love and strength of Leife provides a tiny safety net but it goes to show that a little goes a long way. Determined to celebrate their love, they head out for a weekend in the woods hoping for a chance to heal Hayle's broken heart. Who knew what mysteries lurked to wreak havoc on the full moon night? Shakespeare surely did!

Resplendence Publishing author, Simone Anderson, proves her worth among her equally talented counterparts in this clever, creative spin-off series. The writing of this well crafted M/M romance is both tender and exciting. Her characters are relateable, capturing the reader's emotional response immediately. The romance is erotic, magical and extremely sexy. Of course Shakespeare told us the course of true love, ne'er ran smooth, and this tale certainly attests to that fact but happiness in all its incarnations is still worth the end goal. I give this delightful novella a tasty five chocolate dipped strawberries and a tumble in the woods on a dark full moon night - Mroawr!

I heartily encourage readers to check out these and the other stories of the As We Like It series from Resplendence Publishing - like chocolate and red wine, a truly guilty indulgence!
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